The Creative Curriculum
At Connaught Junior School, we have a varied and exciting Creative Curriculum to offer all the children in our care, including disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND, full immersion in their learning. This has been achieved through careful analysis of the National Curriculum and Skills Progression documents, as well as our professional knowledge of our children and how they learn best. In order for the children to fully explore each curriculum area, the lessons are arranged and planned so that learning is built upon over a sequence of successive lessons, where children are challenged appropriately, which allows uninterrupted discovery to take place. We have found that deeper learning occurs when the children are thoroughly engaged and become empowered to develop their own knowledge independently both in and outside school.
Through this curriculum, we are providing real-life opportunities for our children to experience, giving them a purpose for their learning; this creates a meaningful ‘hook’ which children feel enthused to grasp and explore. We believe that if our children feel that every piece of work, which is presented in their one topic book, adds value to their learning journey they will be more motivated to achieve to their highest potential.
As a school, we have a clear vision in mind about the end point where the children become experts in this topic and we structure our curriculum to facilitate their ability to reach those goals. This is known at Connaught as a ‘Topic Celebration’ and all learning prior to this contributes toward this final outcome. We ensure that the children get the opportunity to share their work and feel a true sense of pride about what they have achieved.
Our children become critical thinkers with the ability to evaluate the strengths and areas for development in the work that they produce. Due to this, they are resilient and reflective learners who are not afraid to take risks and appreciate the value of making mistakes.
By offering children the opportunity to discover a wide variety of academic, vocational and technical skillsets, we are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in later life. In order to achieve this, we have created a ‘Connaught Careers’ programme where both teachers and professionals from a range of occupations afford our children the valuable opportunity to explore vocational paths which they may not ordinarily experience; this aims to develop the whole child, allowing pupils to nurture their creativity and ignite their passions.
In collaboration with staff, parents and governors, we have developed 6 drivers that run through the curriculum.
The 6 Connaught Curriculum Drivers
Running through everything that we teach the children at Connaught Junior School are the Curriculum Drivers. They are the additional layers to the skills and knowledge contained in the curriculum that highlight and celebrate:
- The attitudes that we value
- Character development
- Difference and tolerance
And create citizens of Britain and the world that we can all be proud of. These drivers steer the curriculum towards giving all children the opportunity to be The Child Who Can!
We want our children at Connaught to be productive and positive citizens who contribute to the community around them. We acknowledge that building a strong community is all about relationships. We have a very strong sense of community at Connaught – the everyday school community, residents, businesses and providers connected with our school, local charities and businesses, the church, TAMAT, as well as feeder infant schools and the secondary schools the Connaught children move on to. We aim to develop the children’s strong sense of community and their responsibility and contribution towards it through the curriculum, recognising that communities come in all shapes and sizes, that we all belong to many different ones and that what we get and give can make a positive impact.
Learning and Leading
Engaging in a Growth Mind-set means that our children understand that intelligence is not fixed, mistakes are to be celebrated and that the best learning happens when children are thinking hard.
Our children have opportunities to take charge of their own learning through levels of challenge in every lesson. Each class is named after a mountain to represent strength, endeavour and reaching for great heights. Children are challenged in lessons through a mountain-themed approach with work starting at Base Camp, and progressively getting harder through Climbing, onto Peak and finally reaching Summit! Following a mastery curriculum children of all skill levels can become Lead Learners, assisting their fellow learners and articulating concepts that their peers might find difficult. Our Pupil Parliament has 5 councils (Eco, Learning, Friendship, Sports and Safety) that give children from Years 3 to 6 the opportunity to take a leadership role. Our structure of Sports and House Captains, Leader in Me Captains, Wellbeing Ambassadors and many more gives the Year 6s Leadership opportunities, and something for the younger children to aspire to. Leadership opportunities develop confidence and character.
British and Global Citizens
We believe at Connaught that it is important for children to be aware of what is happening in the world around them, both nationally and internationally so that they understand their place in the world and take an interest in events outside their immediate sphere. News events are covered in subjects like PSHE, RE, Geography, History and assemblies but also when the teaching of any lesson changes direction! This can stimulate heated discussion and debate. Social media has made the world a much smaller place, increased the ability to connect and for information to travel at vast speeds. We teach the children not only the power of the internet, but also the dangers and how to use it responsibly. Children are taught French as a Modern Foreign language to increase their confidence in communicating with a wider variety of global citizens. We want our children to be curious and knowledgeable about the world.
Wellbeing and Being Well
People operate at their fullest potential when they are feeling motivated, supported and engaged. That is why the wellbeing of our children and staff is something that we take very seriously at Connaught Junior School. Our PSHE programme, Jigsaw, covers everything from relationships to self-esteem and problem solving. Our focus on maximum engagement in lessons ensures that all children are given a voice and encouraged to contribute. Real PE is taught by both class teachers and our specialist Sports coaches, encouraging not only the children’s competitive side but also their desire to self-improve. Active classrooms ensures that children across the school are not sitting down for extended periods throughout the school day thus improving their ability to focus better. Early Morning Activity gives the children up to 10 minutes extra physical activity before they enter the classroom, impacting positively on physical fitness and mental and emotional wellbeing. The school's leadership team has a strong focus on staff wellbeing too. All the staff at Connaught work incredibly hard for the children and each other and measures are put in place to ensure that they are not overworked and are appreciated and valued. Children are encouraged to be kind and caring towards each other and a number of programmes support this, including: The Restorative Approach, Pro-kindness and Girls Onboard.
Enterprise and Effort
At Connaught, we strongly believe that effort and self-belief can get children further than they ever thought possible! Process praise is adopted by all teachers with the aim to praise the effort and the thinking that is taking place towards finding a solution, and not just the solution itself. Children are given opportunities to take part in challenging projects such as Dragon's Den and our Charity Days which involve them using enterprise to create innovative creations that either impress a panel of business people or create a stall to raise money for three charities; one local, one national and one international. We believe that if you think you can be successful, you will be successful! Effort and commitment can lead our children to great things.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” Henry Ford
Identity and Uniqueness
Both uniqueness and identity are promoted at Connaught because we want our children to feel a part of something bigger, whilst recognising their own individual qualities. The children’s sense of identity is fostered through the pride the children take in their uniform and all that is offered at our school. We believe we are different to other schools in terms of our fantastic facilities, our innovative teaching approaches, our strong focus on wellbeing and the feeling the school has which is felt upon entering the building. The children wear their uniform with pride and buy into being a ‘Connaught Child’. Our house system creates another layer of belonging as each child is placed in one of four houses when they arrive in Year 3. They will either be a Corinthian, Athenian, Trojan or Spartan for the time they are with us and take part in many house competitions; Spelling Bees, Bake Offs, Art Competitions to name but a few! The children also collect house points towards a weekly, termly and end of year total. Our Sports Day is a huge event with both competitive and non-competitive elements. All points from throughout the day are totalled up and announced at the end, which is a great source of excitement for the children and adults. Staff are also assigned a house.
Children’s talents and passions are encouraged so that they have the opportunity to showcase their efforts and celebrate their successes. So, whether the children are artists, performers, gymnasts, scientists, musicians or writers, the curriculum and extra-curricular activities give them the opportunity to be creative and to shine!
The Vision for Connaught Children
What does a Connaught Child Look like?
I am keen to learn and share my learning with others. I am curious and encouraging.
Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow. I am flexible and adaptable and always confident in my role.
I build on the foundations of what I already know whilst looking forward towards my future and what is coming up in the next stage of my school career. I relish challenge.
I understand that I contribute to the culture and ethos of my school. I understand how my behaviour impacts on those around me. I am polite, respectful and well-mannered to all.
I strive to be happy and positive, always looking on the bright side, giving people the benefit of the doubt, being kind and caring and always trying to see things from other people’s point of view.
I always do my best, putting effort into my work and relationships. I know that intelligence is not fixed and that I can increase my skill level if I work hard. I am a committed learner.
I enjoy showcasing my talents in big or small ways whether it is through acting, singing, sports, cooking, art, music or leadership. I am passionate about what makes me, me. I am a creative soul.
I am an individual and unique in my own way and I insist that this is recognised. Leadership opportunities allow me to develop my character. I am also a small but important part of a whole, a team, a community, a family. I will forever remain in the fabric and memory and history of this school building. My voice will forever echo down its hallways.
I will Improve Every Day.
I am the Child Who Can.
With best wishes,